Those of you that follow my pictures and blog know that I find myself in the Caymans once and while. Although Grand Cayman is the most popular island, I really like the island of Cayman Brac, which is one of the less populated islands (only 2000 people live there). This trip is one I won’t forget any time soon.
This is the house we rent while staying in the Brac, we were in the house when the earthquake hit, around 2 in the afternoon.
You may have heard old folklore that before an Earthquake, the animals know and act strangely. These are all crabs, hundreds of them, that appeared from the bushes around the house.
Although in this case, the crabs came out because we put out food scraps, and the earthquake had absolutely nothing to do with this. They would come out anytime we put out food scraps.
Anyway…. I was in the kitchen making a sandwich when I heard an incredibly loud rumbling sound. It sounded like a locomotive engine in the kitchen. I was painfully confused by the sound because there was no locomotive in the kitchen. At first, I thought the air conditioner had imploded on itself. Sian on the other hand, was convinced an airplane was about to crash into the house (it really was that loud). Only when the floor of the house started moving did I realize what was happening. I yelled “EARTHQUAKE!” and we made a hasty escape from the house. I was confused by everything that was happening, so I don’t recall, but the reports say the shaking lasted 2 minutes. I didn’t know that earthquakes made sounds and learnt afterwards that the sound arrives before the movement. This is also why I was so confused when the first earthquake sounds started, I didn’t know that happened.
Believe it or not, the motion of an earthquake makes you feel a little motion sick after.
After the earthquake subsided our thoughts turned to the ocean. Is a tsunami on the way now? My plan was to keep an eye on the ocean and if I saw the tell-tale sign of the water moving out to sea, we would quickly head to the nearby rocky cliff to gain elevation.
Where do you go for advice when you’re worried about an impending Tsunami, Google of course. It was interesting that google put up an SOS alert on my search page. I would later learn that by the time we were getting Google results that the Tsunami would have already wiped us out.
If you open google Maps after an Earthquake, they add the affected area to your maps, kind of neat.
In retrospect, I learnt that in deep water tsunamis travel at 500 miles per hour and my plan to escape was pretty stupid and would have never worked. Fortunately for me, there was a tsunami, but it was only 1.5 feet high, so we hardly noticed it. The locals on the island closed all restaurants, grocery stores etc.. and went home in the event of aftershocks (there were 13) and a Tsunami that followed.
In the following days we would learn that this was the 2nd strongest Earthquake to hit the Caribbean in the last 176 years. At 7.7 on the Richter scale, this one was even stronger than the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010. That earthquake was a 7.0 and killed over 200,000 people.
We also learnt that the island we were staying on was the closest land to the epicenter. I’ve put a little orange arrow on this map to show where we were.
Amazingly, there were no reported serious injuries and very little damage. However, we should take a moment to pay our respects to this liquor that wasn’t as fortunate.
So that evening, we watched the sunset as it does every other evening and had a drink to calm the shakes.


Chris · February 24, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Felt like I was there with u. Worried about tsunami, but u did u confident selfie smile, knew sian in good hands. Question, know u eat conch (I think that’s what the ugly shellfish is called), did u eat those ugly scrawny crabs. Chris

    Shawn · April 9, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    No, we didn’t eat any of the crabs, but I bet they are delicious 🙂

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